Air samples of total suspended particles (TSP, particles less than 30-60 microm), and particles with aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 microm (PM(2.5)) were collected simultaneously at Guiyu (an electronic waste recycling site), three urban sites in Hong Kong and two urban sites in Guangzhou, South China from 16 August to 17 September 2004. Twenty-two PBDE congeners (BDE-3, -7, -15, -17, -28, -49, -71, -47, -66, -77, -100, -119, -99, -85, -126, -154, -153, -138, -156, -184, -183, -191) in TSP and PM(2.5) were measured. The results showed that the overall average concentrations of TSP and PM(2.5) collected at Guiyu were 124 and 62.1 microg m(-3), respectively. The monthly concentrations of the sum of 22 BDE congeners contained in TSP and PM(2.5) at Guiyu were 21.5 and 16.6 ng m(-3), with 74.5 and 84.3%, contributed by nine congeners (BDE-28, -47, -66, -100, -99, -154, -153, -183 and -191 respectively). This pattern was similar to Tsuen Wan site of Hong Kong. Two urban sites of Guangzhou had the same congener pattern, but were different from Yuen Long and Hok Tsui sites of Hong Kong. The results also showed that the amount of mono to penta brominated congeners, which are more toxic, accounted for 79.4-95.6% of Sigma(22)PBDEs from all sites. All congeners tested in Guiyu were up to 58-691 times higher than the other urban sites and more than 100 times higher than other studies reported elsewhere. The higher concentration in the air was due to heating or opening burning of electronic waste since PBDEs are formed when plastics containing brominated flame retardants are heated.